The Giants landed the first two punches against the Rangers in San Francisco. The run total differential of 20-7 sounds more dominating than reality. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain silenced the Rangers’ bats, but there have been only two innings when the Giants’ offense did its damage. A six-run fifth inning in Game 1 and a seven-run eighth in Game 2 doomed the Rangers. Texas played one game with a sub-par right fielder, and one game without its cleanup hitter. Even with those two handicaps, the Rangers were still within two innings of playing toe-to-toe with the Giants. So a day off, a return home and changing to American League rules are three big changes in the Rangers’ favor. Colby Lewis beat the Yankees twice and gives the team confidence. Expect the Rangers, fueled by energetic fans, to regain their swagger and get back in the series.
At their workout on Friday, the Rangers appeared loose and confident. But behind the calm, business-as-usual facade, they must be feeling pressure of not falling behind 3-0.
An optimistic Rangers’ fan may want to point to June when the Rangers reeled off 11 wins in a row against National League teams. So, winning four of five doesn’t seem to daunting, does it? However, the realist knows that it was Milwaukee, Florida, Houston and Pittsburgh the Rangers defeated— not exactly teams vying for the NL pennant.
San Francisco Game 3 starter Jonathan Sanchez was last seen leaving the mound in Philadelphia after a wayward pitch struck Chase Utley in the back, which ultimately emptied both benches for a little pushing and shoving. Sanchez was anything but sharp and pitched with no confidence.
And the Rangers have been feasting on left-handed pitching. In their last five games against lefty starters, the Rangers have 39 hits and 16 earned runs in 29.2 innings. And those five left-handed starters were aces David Price, C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte. So Sanchez will not intimidate Texas hitters. During the regular season, Texas hitters loved facing southpaws. The two through seven hitters should give Sanchez trouble.
Texas hitters against lefthanders during the regular season:
Michael Young, .322
Josh Hamilton, .271
Vlad Guerrero, .338
Nelson Cruz, .330
Ian Kinsler, .376
Bengie Molina, .311
The Rangers will score in Game 3. If Lewis can’t quiet the Giants’ bats, this will turn into batting practice for both teams and bullpens will play a huge role. And the Texas bullpen hasn’t shown any effectiveness at all, which would clearly the advantage would quickly turn San Fran’s way. So it is imperative that Lewis work deep enough into the game to shorten the bridge to closer Neftali Feliz.
Lewis will squelch the Giants enough to prevent a San Francisco sweep.